I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be an adult, since, apparently, I've been one for three years.
I'm certain it can't just be a birthday. One day, I went to work, thinking about the (college) homework I had, the musical I was in, and I quietly told my boss it was my birthday. One year later, I did the same thing, only it was special, because it was my eighteenth birthday, and I got a pretty guitar. Other than that guitar, eighteen felt much like seventeen. Even though I have grown and matured, adulthood still feels... arbitrary. There doesn't seem to be a proper checklist for what makes a person truly an adult.
With that said, I've put together my thoughts on what makes someone a grown-up, as opposed to legally responsible for themselves. Essentially it boils down to one thing:
You are an adult if you have the courage to do what you want and the strength to do what you must, even when it sucks. If you are willing to do what it takes and willing to pursue your own joy despite the difficulty, you are an adult.
Some things grown-ups do that fit into one (or both) of those categories:
Adults assume that other people have feelings, experiences, and expectations as powerful as their own, no matter how different.
Adults take responsibility for their own health (mental, physical, emotional, spiritual).
Adults drink water.
Adults show up on time.
Adults are willing to find, acknowledge, and pursue the things, people, and causes they love.
Adults are responsible for their decisions, including financial ones.
Adults know that some people's opinions do not (or cannot) have any bearing on their decisions.
Adults know that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent.
Adults acknowledge that there is someone looking up to them and live in a way that reflects that knowledge.
Adults know that fun is fun and good and worth the time.
Adults know that the size of their pants matters less than the fit, because size, like age, is only a number and has no bearing on a person's value or beauty.
Adults see and acknowledge their parents' humanity.
Adults know that hard times end.
Adults know that not everyone over 18 has stopped being a child, and that not everyone under 18 has had the chance to be one.
Adults are willing to wait.
What did I miss? Tell me in the comments!